By Adedayo Akinwale
A member of the House of Representatives from Kogi State, Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf, has described the decision of the federal government to hound #EndSARS protesters, in spite of its promise to look into their demands, as confusing.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had reportedly obtained a court injunction enabling it to freeze accounts linked to participants in the #EndSARS protests.
The lawmaker, therefore, called on the federal government to reverse its decision to freeze their bank accounts, as well as seizing international passports of Nigerian youths considered to have actively taken part in the nationwide protest against police brutality.
Yusuf in a statement issued yesterday also called on the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to tender a national apology for saying that hoodlums dressed in military fatigues were responsible for the shooting of protesters at Lekki tollgate in Lagos State.
He also described as “condemnable” the circumstances surrounding the withdrawal of two youth members of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and their subsequent resumption of sitting during the weekend.
Yusuf said: “It is thoroughly confounding that in spite of the federal government promise to look into the demands of the protesters, the government went to a great length with actions and words that aroused real doubts over its sincerity.
“The federal government asked them to calm down and they did so only for the federal government to embark upon series of arrests, passport seizures and freezing of bank accounts of the #EndSARS protesters.
“While right-thinking citizens feel concerned about the real possibilities of driving the democratic expression of dissenting opinions into underground activities, the federal government must advise itself against further deliberate mis-steps.”
Yusuf said it was absolutely pathetic that a government that promised progressive ideals has consistently shown a tendency to find comfort in dictatorial fiat and jackboot oppression of its people.
He added that it was absolutely regrettable that the idealistic youthful protesters were being “deliberately confronted with strong-arm tactics and disrespectfully lumped together by government in a manner suggestive of deliberate official mischief aimed at obliterating their credibility.”
The lawmaker stressed that lawful protests are part of citizens’ inalienable democratic rights, and the October protests by youths and activists laid out a five-point demand before the government calling for an end to police brutality across the country.